MANILA – President Rodrigo Duterte plans to educate his critics on the constitutionality of his verbal deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing Chinese fishermen to trawl within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Duterte on Monday said he will discuss the constitutionality of the deal during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) later this month.
“You wait maybe sa SONA I will educate people na ‘yung ginawa ko, sabi ko, ‘you can fish,’ tama talaga ako. At hindi magiging unconstitutional iyan, Sige, salita muna kayo diyan and then I will talk,” Duterte said.
“By any stretch of imagination hindi unconstitutional ang ginawa ko. As a matter of fact it is in keeping with the law. Wala akong kasalanan diyan sa Constitution, maniwala kayo,” he added.
Senior Associate justice Antonio Carpio earlier said the verbal deal was unconstitutional and lopsided aside from there is no official policy giving the Chinese the rights to explore the country’s EEZ such as the Reed Bank.
Duterte recently revealed he had a “mutual” agreement with Xi allowing Chinese fishermen to trawl in the Philippine waters.
His announcement regarding the Philippines’ EEZ was strongly condemned by his critics, who claimed such deal with Xi could be ground for impeachment./PN